Vanderbilt scored 43 2nd half points and received a career high performance from Joe Toye (18 points) to cruise past the Texas A&M Aggies, 66-41 and advance to round two of the 2017 SEC Tournament.
The first half wasn't a pretty showing from either team but the Commodores played an outstanding half of defense that allowed them to maintain a lead. Junior guard Riley LaChance was big in the 1st half for Vandy. While the rest of the team struggled to find the basket, LaChance was the lone Commodore hitting from deep while also doing a good job of setting up his teammates.
A&M hung tough through the first playing good defense themselves They too couldn't find the basket, except for the low post scoring of Tyler Davis. The sophomore big man kept his team in the game with his soft touch down low and burly size.
The game was tied at 20 a piece with a few second remaining in the 1st half until LaChance drained a three from deep to push the Commodores halftime leading score to 23-20. That three from LaChance was a sign of things to come in the 2nd half.
Vanderbilt quickly established themselves in the 2nd half as the superior team. Nolan Cressler (11 points) started things off with an and-one bucket followed by a Toye three pointer from the wing. That three from Toye opened the flood gates and the Commodores would never look back.
The Chicago sophomore guard was on fire in the 2nd peroid. Toye went on the drain five 2nd half three's and was near unstoppable. His play was key to the team's victory. While having Luke Kornet and Jeff Roberson score a total of 6 points on the night, Vanderbilt needed someone to take over the scoring load and Toye ended up being that guy.
LaChance was also huge on the night. He scored a total of 14 points hitting 4 three's while dishing out 3 assists on 1 turnover. LaChance has done a very nice job of limiting his turnovers while running the team like a point guard should.
Vanderbilt's 2nd half three point shooting broke the game open but it was the Commodores defense that shined. Vanderbilt held A&M to it's lowest point total of the season at 41 and really did a nice job of not allowing open shots while doubling the post and causing turnovers.
The Commodores now advance to play on Friday evening against a Gators team that is dying to see Vanderbilt again and try to figure out a potion that will beat the team from Nashville. Vanderbilt went 2-0 vs. Florida this season, including a 73-71 senior night home win just last Saturday.
The game is set to tip-off at 6 pm Central, being aired on the SEC Network.